Tuesday, October 03, 2006

John Yoo Malpractice Remediation Act of 2006

Spot wondered how John Yoo would skate on his advice when, as a Justice Department lawyer, he authored the advice to the administration that the Geneva Conventions' prohibition of torture were somehow inapplicable to detainees in the warron terra. In a memorandum to the general counsel of the Department of Defense, co-authored by now St. Thomas Law School professor William Delahunty, these two bright lights opined that the United States, and the administration of George Bush in particular, were not bound by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the Taliban and al Qaeda.


Guess you and Bob were wrong, John! In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, decided this summer, the Supreme Court held that Common Article 3 did apply to the Taliban and al Qaeda. This is such a bummer on so many levels! Not only does the administration now have to go through the motions of pretending to make fair tribunals available to detainees, all the people right up and down the line—including way up—who approved the torture of these detainees are war criminals!

A lot of these people are going to be plenty pissed at you John. And we already know what they are capable of. What's that John? We should amend section 2241 of the federal criminal code, the War Crimes Act, to get rid of that pesky reference to Common Article 3?

Sounds good, John, but we can't do that entirely. You know as well as Spot does that that making domestic crimes out of our Geneva Convention obligations is a part of those obligations. How about this?

We amend the code to say that only "grave breaches" of Common Article 3 are crimes, make it retroactive, and then provide that the president can decide what grave breaches are? Works for you? Good. That should take care of a lot of people. No so many people mad at you now.

Of course, like Henry Kissinger, these people will not be able to travel abroad for the rest of their lives for fear of being arrested and charged with war crimes. Hope you don't have any big travel plans John.

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